When Reality Breaks: Understanding and Treating Psychosis with Recovery-Oriented Therapies

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When Reality Breaks: Understanding and Treating Psychosis with Recovery-Oriented Therapies

13 October, 2022 @ 8:00 am 11:00 am CDT

Psychosis has been called one of the most common problems that we do not talk about. Symptoms of psychosis can range from hearing voices to subtle paranoia and can be caused by a whole spectrum of things including medical causes, stress, severe mood disorders, PTSD with secondary psychotic features, and Schizophrenia. While many therapists do not seek out to treat psychosis, chances are that you have met or even currently are meeting with at least one client coping with this. In this workshop we will overview some simple strategies based in CBT for psychosis and Recovery-Oriented therapies for identifying and assisting with these challenges.


After completing this program, social workers, program administrators, and other participants will be able to:

  1. Recognize signs of psychosis as an umbrella symptom as well as recognize potential causes of psychosis
  2. Describe how to use engagement strategies most helpful to clients with psychosis including normalizing, and engagement strategies
  3. Review strategies for assisting clients with common psychotic symptoms including voices, paranoia, loss of sense of self, and loss of motivation
  4. Define paranoia and describe the needs/meaning behind these experiences and how to ask probing questions without invalidating a person’s experience
  5. Discuss the Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) strategy of engaging the adaptive mode
  6. Describe anosognosia as a common experience and how to assist clients who do not recognize the illness as well as learn when and how to effectively refer a client experiencing psychosis when needed
  7. Assist clients with psychosis in clarifying aspirations and a greater sense of meaning


Jennifer Gerlach, LCSW, is a therapist in private practice in the St. Louis area who specializes in encouraging youth seeking mental health recovery. She has received training in Recovery-Oriented Cognitive Therapy (CT-R) through the Beck Institute as well as has completed an Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) immersion course through Praxis. In addition, she has worked in the past within a coordinated specialty program for individuals in a first episode of psychosis. She has provided workshops on a national level focused on mental health recovery. She shares a hopeful perspective on recovery from psychosis and related challenges. She also is a person in mental health recovery herself.